It’s scary how many horror movies come out each year that immediately fade into oblivion — yet they enjoy broad releases and overly excited followings (looking at you, Ari Aster’s oeuvre!). These films regurgitate the themes of classic horror and science fiction, and while some, such as The Witch, are worthy contenders, die-hard horror fans like me are eager to find some fresh blood (so to speak).

Thankfully, the past few decades have yielded some hidden gems, all with unique concepts and genuine scares. To me, the best horror films strike a good balance between premise and creepiness. They feature tense character dynamics, subtle themes, and plots that aren’t contrived or silly. …


Image for post
Image for post
Photo by on

Ever read a great article about a local artist or filmmaker and think, Man, I wish they would do a story about me! It’s not as hard as you might imagine to get press coverage for your art or creative project. Contrary to popular belief, print media is not dead — and in fact, many publications are hungry for content, especially human interest stories. So, how can you get your name on a journalist’s desk? Follow these steps.

Find your pitch

Newspapers are just that: they focus on news. If you have nothing coming out, you likely won’t catch a news editor’s eye. Magazines are a bit more lenient and often publish “evergreen” content and general human-interest stories. …


Image for post
Image for post
Photo by on

If your work schedule looks like most Americans’, you wake up, drink some coffee, check your email, and then chug through your list of tasks. In the evenings, you unwind or work on personal projects. At the end of the day, you go to bed to start the cycle over again.

The problem is, this system doesn’t work for most people. It assumes that we’re built to work for eight hours, then turn off work and pursue our passions — or enjoy some good TV. For many people, it can be hard to turn off the work. …


Image for post
Image for post
Photo by on

Back when I was young and naive, I decided to rent a room in my friend’s house. She gave me the lease to sign right after I’d gotten off a 12-hour shift, so I didn’t read it thoroughly before signing.

Big mistake.

I looked at it later only to find it had some unsavory provisions, such as requiring me to pay 75 percent of the costs of any upgrades she wanted to make to the house. Long story short, I ended up breaking the lease — and I learned a valuable lesson about reading contracts thoroughly.

Now, as a full-time freelancer, I never work without a contract. It’s not that I don’t trust anyone — although I gotta say, being screwed over by a friend makes me a little wary. I worked without a contract exactly once, and lo and behold, I did hours of work for zero pay. …


Image for post
Image for post
Dani (Florence Pugh) adopts splendiferous feminine glory in the face of personal apocalypse.

Horror movies explore the darkest aspects of human nature — and sometimes, that happens in the blinding daylight. That’s the visual premise of Midsommar, which portrays a group of Americans visiting a strange commune in Sweden. As they become entangled in the locals’ violent rituals, their relationships break down. At the center of the plot is grieving student Dani (Florence Pugh), who clings to her dying relationship with her boyfriend Christian (Jack Reynor) after her sister kills herself and their parents.

If this already sounds like it’s ripe for revenge fantasy, you’d be correct. And Pugh does an excellent job of portraying Dani’s depressive fury. Indeed, Dani is the central force in the film. As her grief and anxiety well up toward the film’s explosive climax, she “goes native” and fully embraces the rigid social order and vengeful wishes of the cult. …


It’s simple, really.

Image for post
Image for post
Photo by on

You feel tired all the time. You can barely drag your butt out of bed. You have the constant feeling that you’ve forgotten something. Your head hurts, your eyes itch, and you haven’t felt a modicum of happiness in…who knows how long.

You’d think that with our massive intellect and stunning self-awareness, we’d be able to quickly suss out what the hell is wrong with us. But sadly, we’re limited to browsing self-help articles, spending too much money on exercise apps, and frantically googling the question:

“Why do I feel like shit?”

The reasons aren’t that complicated. …


and what to say instead

Image for post
Image for post
The face you don’t want to see in conversation. Photo by on

We’ve all had conversations in which we felt uncomfortable, unheard, and unfulfilled. Perhaps our conversation partner’s head was off in the clouds. Perhaps they have a bit of a listening problem.

Or perhaps it’s you.

Every book and article about how to be a likable person/get more friends/be more charismatic focuses on listening to others, making them feel good, etc. Sure, that’s all important, but what you say matters too. People can always sniff out insincerity.

No one will like you if you’re all smiles and then say something as tactless as a sea slug. You’ll annoy people if you pretend to listen to their thoughts and dump compliments on them, then dismiss their feelings. There’s a fine line between performing “niceness” and actually being a cool person to talk to — but there are some things you should just never say. …


Lessons in big damn wordplay

Image for post
Image for post
Photo by on

Years ago, I ran a blog called “Confluey,” where I posted musings about media, culture, and society. The blog never made it big or had more than five visitors per month, but it got me started writing on the Internet. What I remember most about the blog, though, is its name.

“Confluey” is a word used by the character Cordelia Chase, who was created by veteran TV screenwriter/producer/director Joss Whedon. She’s attempting to turn the noun “confluence” into an adjective, and it comes off as a real word. Whedon’s scripts are full of such neologisms, as well as a linguistic wit that’s become his signature style. Dubbed Whedonspeak, this blend of wordplay and snappy dialogue offers more than just entertaining television. …


and how to deal with them

Image for post
Image for post
Photo by on

Whether you’ve been dealing with newly work-from-home team members during the pandemic or have always managed remote workers, you’ve probably noticed certain tendencies. Everyone’s work personalities play out in different ways when they are remote. The science shows that they tend to be more productive, but what does that really mean? Here are the four types of remote workers.

The Zoom Addict

This colleague is highly extroverted. They deeply miss the opportunity to stroll by everyone’s desk and interrupt them for the latest gossip. Now that your team is having regular Zoom meetings, they eagerly sign into the call before anyone else, then talk over everyone in the call. …


Mad Scientists in the Movies

Mad scientists have been a go-to trope in science fiction movies for years. However, as science has become more visible in the public eye, mad scientist characters have shifted from take-over-the-world types to misguided scientists who attain power beyond their control as they play God. Let’s take a look at some of the most morally questionable, and occasionally sympathetic, mad scientists.

Image for post
Image for post
Madness = crazy hair, sometimes.

Frankenstein

The original mad scientist has had his fair share of cinematic portrayals, but the most memorable is probably Gene Wilder’s in Young Frankenstein. Wilder’s manic energy and dry wit give him a slightly deranged personality even when he’s being the voice of reason. …

About

Rachel Wayne

Writer by day, circus artist by night. I write about art, media, culture, health, science, and where they all meet. Join my list:

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store